20171020-20 Oct 2017

More research sought from staff on ways to raise parking revenue without meters in downtown Sarasota

Four city commissioners make it plain they oppose meters, but two voice concerns about the continuing need for subsidies to the Parking Department

It took two motions — after confusion ensued over the first one. Nonetheless, after about an hour of discussion and pleas from the public, the Sarasota City Commission voted unanimously on Oct. 16 to direct staff to undertake the necessary research and then come back to the board with alternatives to metered parking in downtown Sarasota. (Read more »)

New collaboration of Celery Fields advocates seeks to persuade County Commission to take nearby county parcels off list of surplus lands for sale

Fresh Start has begun a petition drive on change.org to urge the board to work with community residents and business owners on shaping the future of the area around the park

They fought successfully to prevent a construction and yard waste recycling facility from being constructed near the Celery Fields in the eastern part of Sarasota County. Now, in a new collaboration, they are petitioning the County Commission to remove a group of properties county staff refers to as the “Quads” from the county’s surplus lands list. (Read more »)

County commissioners suggest one-on-one discussions with Sheriff’s Office staff and workshop to deal with concerns about growing jail population

Climb in low-level felony charges — especially those related to drug use — seen as biggest problem

In 2008, when he was campaigning for his first term as sheriff of Sarasota County, “the jail was a hot topic,” Tom Knight told the Sarasota County Commission on Oct. 10. “People didn’t want a new jail.” Members of the public were fretful about where a new facility might be constructed, Knight continued, with the “not-in-my-backyard” stance aired frequently. (Read more »)

Nothing off the table, county commissioners say, as they seek to balance future budgets and build back up their ‘rainy day’ reserve to help with next recession

Staff asked to start making progress reports on options before the end of the year

In accord with the direction the Sarasota County Commission gave staff during its public hearings on the 2018 fiscal year budget, work has begun on ways to replace the approximately $10.8 million a year that a proposed Public Service Tax on utility usage was expected to bring the county. (Read more »)

First storm debris passes in county should be completed by Thanksgiving, emergency services director says

City of Sarasota staff anticipating all city collections will be finished within 60 days

As of Oct. 19, Sarasota County’s storm debris contractors were working in 15 of the 38 residential zones, the county’s website reported. Altogether, approximately 60,000 cubic yards of vegetative storm debris had been collected as of that date, the website noted. Contractors are working seven days a week to clear the debris. (Read more »)

Majority of City Commission shoots down latest attempt to change city election cycle

Commissioner Brody cites statistics to show voter participation would improve with an August primary and November runoff

Only Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody — who made the motion — and Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie offered support this week to a new effort to move the city election cycle from the spring to November, with a primary in August. (Read more »)

Construction of latest Orange Avenue roundabout set to begin in late November in city of Sarasota

City staff had asked about delaying the work until spring, but FDOT cautioned against that because of funding concerns

With no comment this week, the Sarasota City Commission approved an $875,914.46 contract with a company to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Ringling Boulevard and Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota. The work is expected to begin at the end of November, a city staff memo said, with a pre-construction meeting for the project set for Nov. 7. (Read more »)

Proposed Quality of Life Ordinance to be focus of Sheriff’s Office and County Commission discussions, though public hearing remains set for Nov. 14

Sheriff cites concerns about cost of new personnel he feels will be needed for outreach to homeless individuals after law goes into effect

In August, Sheriff Tom Knight wrote a letter to the Sarasota County Commission, expressing worries that a new Quality of Life Ordinance, as drafted, would necessitate his hiring more personnel to engage with homeless individuals in an effort to keep the latter out of jail. (Read more »)

Selby Gardens wins City Commission approval for first step in effort to achieve goals of its new master plan

Comprehensive Plan amendment to be processed outside normal cycle to enable rezoning of Gardens property

With a unanimous vote this week, the Sarasota City Commission has accelerated the proposed timeline for the implementation of the new master plan for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. On a motion by Commissioner Willie Shaw, seconded by Commissioner Hagen Brody, the board agreed to allow staff to process a proposed amendment from Selby Gardens to the city’s Comprehensive Plan outside the annual cycle for such projects. (Read more »)

County commissioners hold up lease renewal on East Venice Avenue parcel after questioning why it is not on the list of surplus lands for sale

Property has been leased to City of Venice for $10 a year since 1998 for warehouse purposes

Item No. 3 on the Sarasota County Commission’s Oct. 10 Consent Agenda of routine business items ignited a new round of frustrations that staff is not working quickly enough to help the board sell surplus lands. That agenda item called for the commission to adopt a resolution approving the leasing of property located at 440 E. Venice Ave. in Venice to the City of Venice for $10 per year for 10 years, ending on Sept. 30, 2024. (Read more »)

Engineering firm overseeing Lift Station 87 project approved for another $3-million payment from city

McKim & Creed’s Southeast regional manager explains that the construction costs are rising because of the ‘boom economy’

Before they unanimously agreed this week to another $3,071,400 for the services of McKim & Creed, Sarasota city commissioners peppered the firm’s Southeast regional manager about the overall expense of the Lift Station 87 project. (Read more »)

Siesta Seen

Owners of 162 Beach Road parcel accept county’s purchase offer; redevelopment of Siesta Key Palms Hotel proposed; ‘Dr. Beach’ weighs in on the potential of paid beach parking; SKA members get an update on the wastewater treatment plant project; ‘sharrows’ still in the works for part of Ocean Boulevard; and the suspect in island vehicle burglary cases pleads not guilty

Ronald and Sania Allen of Osprey have accepted Sarasota County’s offer of $1.4 million for their parcel at 162 Beach Road, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. However, neither Wendy B. Cooper, trustee of the Burton M. Cooper Credit Shelter Trust No. 1, nor the Cooper family’s attorney has responded to the county’s offer of $1,450,000 for the Cooper property at 168 Beach Road, county Media Relations Officer Jason Bartolone told the News Leader in an Oct. 13 email. (Read more »)

U.S. 41/Fruitville Road roundabout to be focus of Oct. 26 public meeting, with comments welcome

Session to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sarasota City Hall

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has scheduled a public meeting for Thursday, Oct. 26, regarding proposed roundabout at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Fruitville Road in downtown Sarasota, the department has announced. (Read more »)

‘Early-bird’ registration closing soon for 12th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop

Event to be held on Nov. 30 at Girl Scouts conference center on Cattlemen Road

Reduced-rate registration for the 12th Annual Sustainable Communities Workshop, set for Nov. 30, will end on Oct. 30, Sarasota County has announced. The event will be held at the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Event and Conference Center, located at 4750 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. (Read more »)

State Street between Lemon and Pineapple avenues to close permanently to vehicular traffic as of Oct. 21

The Mark condominium and retail project to rise on that space

As part of a development agreement approved by the Sarasota Planning Board and the City Commission in 2006, State Street between Lemon Avenue and Pineapple Avenue will close permanently to vehicular traffic starting Saturday, Oct. 21, the city has announced. (Read more »)

City of Sarasota residents urged not to mix green vegetative clippings with storm debris

FEMA will not reimburse city for materials not resulting from the storm, city staff stresses

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has notified the City of Sarasota that the federal government cannot reimburse the city for any collections of “fresh, green yard waste” that is collected with storm debris, the city has announced. (Read more »)

King Tide earlier this month produced localized flooding in downtown Sarasota, city manager reports

Some areas saw tide increased by as much as 1 foot

Exceptionally high tides known as “King Tides,” in conjunction with the proximity of Hurricane Nate, caused sunny day flooding in some areas of the city of Sarasota in early October, City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Oct. 13 newsletter. (Read more »)